Share This Page

Alphabet dispute spells outrage in Croatian town

| Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, 8:58 p.m.
Croatian protesters cheering with a banner that features their town's name crossed out in Serbian Cyrillic script during a protest in Vukovar, eastern Croatia, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013. War wounds have been revived with the Croatian government plans to introduce Serbian Cyrillic in Vukovar along with the other areas in the country with sizable Serb community _ a move that is in line with the EU’s standards for the respect of minority rights, but which has infuriated war veterans and nationalists. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

VUKOVAR, Croatia — Can Vukovar also be Bykobap?

Whether the name of the war-scarred town on the Danube is written in the Latin or Cyrillic alphabet is a sensitive question. Croatia's upcoming entry into the European Union is forcing residents of the Balkan country to answer it.

Two decades after it was reduced to rubble in a Serb-led army siege, Vukovar is testing whether Croatians are ready to respect minority rights.

The Croatian government is trying to introduce Serbian Cyrillic writing into areas with sizable ethnic Serb communities, a move that has infuriated Croatia's war veterans and nationalists. Thousands of protesters joined a demonstration against the change on Saturday in Vukovar.

Unlike ethnic Croats, the minority Serbs use the Cyrillic alphabet, which is influenced by Orthodox Christianity and used by Russians. Though Vukovar sounds the same in both alphabets, in Cyrillic it is written as Bykobap.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.